When you first set out to execute your brilliant idea, you may feel that you have all of the answers. You are able to make decisions quickly and move at lightning speed. However, you will learn that you will go further by collaborating with and building an A-Team.
The first step in building your A-Team is determining the skill sets that you will need. If you are building a technology-based company, it is ideal that you have two co-founders: a technical co-founder and a co-founder who understands sales, marketing, PR and branding. In this scenario, you have two co-founders who are equally responsible for executing the idea. Of course, no two people have all of the answers.
The next step to building your A-Team is determining where you can fill in any deficiencies. It is critical that you first brainstorm all of the key functions within your newly formed company, and then determine the best route to patch up deficiencies. Be brutally honest. This is a great time for you and your co-founder to do some soul searching.
Now that you understand your company’s deficiencies, you can do one of three things: bring in a third co-founder, recruit staff or develop an advisory board.
Co-Founder – When you recruit a co-founder, make sure he or she has a critical role. You’ll know you have too many co-founders when you break out your organizational chart and certain co-founders have few critical tasks.
The mistake I see most often in the early stages is recruiting a chief operating officer too soon. This might seem like a good idea at first, but a small company does not have various layers of operations. In fact, it is best that the two (or three) co-founders oversee operations at the early stages. They will want to observe, and adjust, the infrastructure as needed.
Staff – When you recruit staff as a startup, remember that each new hire will be a huge percentage of your company and will have a strong affect on your company’s culture. Recruit people you have worked with in the past or people that come strongly recommended to you. At the early stages of your company, a bad hire can be disastrous.
The mistake I see most often in startups is the inability to let go of a bad hire. If a hire is not adding to the company, they are subtracting from the company. Do not be afraid to let them go.
Advisory Board – When you bring on advisory board members, make sure they are filling a real need. Don’t add vanity names.
If these people are not truly involved with the growth of your company, you lose credibility.
In summary, your A-Team will consist of key players who are assigned critical tasks. As you recruit staff and advisory board members, make sure each new person enhances your company’s culture and growth.